Colorado criminals owe state’s victims nearly $778 million |

Colorado criminals owe state’s victims nearly $778 million

Karen E. Crummy
The Denver Post
Terry Lynn Barton as she leaves the Byron White United States Court Bldg in downtown Denver. Barton has been charged with starting the Hayman Fire, the worst Wildfire in Colorado History. (06/03/02) Craig F. Walker/ The Denver Post)

Convicted criminals owe Colorado victims $563 million in restitution and another $215 million in court fines and costs, according to data from the state court administrator’s office.

The amount owed to the courts alone would be enough to cut the state budget deficit nearly in half.

But the reality is that in high-profile cases where defendants have swindled people out of millions of dollars, burned hundreds of acres of land, repeatedly sexually abused children or stolen people’s identities, the chance of recouping costs or fines or repaying victims is low.

Ten people convicted in the past seven years owe $100 million in restitution to the state and various individuals. All but two are currently incarcerated.

(Photo illustration by Severiano Galvan, The Denver Post)

Even if they, as well as those who owe far less in restitution, are released, the prospects for them of finding a high- paying job are slim.

“If they are going to prison for a long time or don’t have any money, ordering them to pay is kind of pointless,” said Chief Judge R. Brooke Jackson of the 1st Judicial District in Jefferson County.

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